Meditation Monday – Where Is Christ Born?

by Christine Sine
Christ in the Rubble - Icon by Kelly Latimore

by Christine Sine

It’s Christmas Day and many of us are sitting down to enjoy a feast with friends and relatives. It is meant to be a day of joyous celebration. Yet many of us celebrate this year with heavy hearts and little joy. The situation in Gaza touches us deeply, made even more poignant at this season by the cancelling of Christmas festivities in Bethlehem. Even here in Seattle there are not as many Christmas lights as usual.

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Bethlehem Creche by Munther Isaac

For me personally Christmas this year is a combination of both joy and grief. Kelly Latimore‘s icon Christ Under the Rubble and the earlier photo by Munther Isaac that circulated social media of Christ sitting in a pile of rubble at the Lutheran Evangelical Christmas Church in Bethlehem, have both been very impacting. Kelly wants his art to be a ‘holy pondering’ – a process that potentially brings about a new way of seeing. and it has certainly been that for me. My joy during this season comes from knowing that Christ has been born into our world and is in the process of making all things whole again. Each year I claim that promise, slow though its fulfillment may seem.

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Ukrainian Nativity by Iraneus Yurchuk

As I think about Christmas this year I wonder where do we need to imagine Christ being born into our world. I think it is in the rubble of all the broken places  – in Bethlehem, in Gaza, in Ukraine and the many other places of conflict on our planet. We also need to see him being born in the rubble of the lives of the millions of refugees, as well as in the places where racial hatred still reigns, domestic abuse is rampant, and discrimination against our LBGTQ+ kin. still rages Probably, as depicted in another of Kelly’s icons, it would also be amongst the homeless and the dispossessed, as well as in places of environmental devastation, pollution and deforestation.

Christ Born in tent City – Icon Kelly Latimore

On Red Letter Christians, which partnered with Kelly in the creation of this icon, Shane Claiborne comments:  “How can we shape a culture of Christianity where love truly has no boundaries? How do we create a world where our poor, homeless, refugee, Palestinian Savior – born to a teenage mother and later condemned to death – would be cherished had he been born today.

Such an important question. Jesus Christ is love incarnate. What can we do to create a world in which Christ and the love that Christ calls us to, reigns in our world today?

Strangely, these rather devastating images of Christ’s birth give me hope. Into the rubble of all the broken places of our world comes the One who showed us a different way to live, a way which can as it has countless times before, bring reconciliation, peace, stability and new life.

This is not the only image that has unsettled me during my preparation for Christmas this year. I have also been unsettled by the poetry I have read, especially from Drew Jackson’s book God Speaks Through Wombs and so I will end with a poem that invites me into the joy and the celebration, in spite of the pain and grieving, a poem that gives us a glimpse of that new life and joy that the coming of Christ into the broken places and broken people of our world can bring.


The dream
is no longer

so we leap!
We can’t help it.

It rises up from within.
From deep, guttural places.
You can’t contain our dance!

Feel the pit-pat!
Hear the tip-tap!
That’s the rhythm of freedom.

Let the babies dance!
Let them tell us of salvation.
Let them lead us to liberation!

The babies are inviting us
into the dance of a future
on the threshold of birth.

And we will leap!
We will leap!
We will leap!

All the way there!

Drew Jackson God Speaks Through Wombs, (16)

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